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How do you find time to garden?

So there was a discussion on a Facebook group I am a member of and one person argued that people don't have time to grow a garden. (And also argued that you cannot grow certain vegetables in Canada - which is false, because you can grow ANYTHING in a greenhouse, and we have greenhouses in Canada.)

So that one person contacted me via private message, basically wanting to continue the discussion.

And here was my response:
 
Growing your own food is like printing your own money. You save money and time.

Think about how much time you spend to earn $60 which you then spend on $60 worth of groceries. Plus the actual time of going to the grocery store. So money really should be measured in time.

So when you buy a pineapple instead of money, you are essentially spending time.

But what if you didn't buy a pineapple. What if you spent that time earning that money to plant tomato seeds instead. And the amount of time you spent at the grocery store each week you spent gardening instead.

Lets say you have your own backyard. In the amount of time it takes to go to the bathroom during a TV commercial break (2.5 minutes typically) you could go outside and spend 2 minutes plucking weeds in the garden.

(Also some weeds are edible...)

The point is that people have ample time to garden, it is really more about time management and using less time in grocery stores and more spare moments gardening.

Or alternatively half an hour per week at a community garden. Or doing guerilla gardening.

Or even foraging for food... but that is another topic.

Lets expand a bit on a few of the topics I mentioned above.

#1. Money = Time, and Vice Versa

A lot of the time people buy groceries because it is lazy and convenient to have someone else do it for you. eg. The work of gardening, farming, preserving food, etc.

Depending on how much money you make per hour doing "work" it does make some sense to let someone else do all the gardening and farming for you, and then you just buy what they make.

If you are poor then you probably have more time than money, so it makes sense to grow your own food.

If you are rich then you have lots of money and it makes sense to let someone else grow food for you, but it makes even more sense that you can afford to garden as a hobby.

So either way, unless they have extremely busy careers, they should be able to find time to garden.

#2. How much time is a Pineapple?

Well, considering pineapples are typically about $4.99 (depends where you shop though) + tax, lets just assume the average pineapple is $5 (tax included).

If you are making $10 per hour when working (whatever you do) then you can work really hard and buy a bunch of pineapples.

But if you are making say $50 per hour suddenly you can do a little work and in a single hour you have enough for 10 pineapples.

So Time is Relative to how much money you make... or don't make.

#3. So what if people stopped buying pineapples and grew tomatoes instead?

Obviously growing your own food is going to save your money, regardless of whether the food you are growing in tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, squash, cucumbers and more.
 
It will take you time to plant such things. Time to plant, time to remove weeds, time to harvest, time to clean. But overall you ultimately save time because you gain lots of food for a relatively small amount of time and effort.

If you really wanted more exotic fruits like pineapples, bananas, etc - you might need to build a greenhouse. But ask yourself, do you really NEED exotic fruits? Aren't they really just a frill? They are not a necessity.

#4. Gardening Once per Day for Two Minutes

Seriously doable.

2 minutes per day to weed. For a small garden. Not a huge one.

Assuming a growing season of April to October (or May to September), we are looking at roughly 5 to 7 months of gardening. 60 minutes per month overall, spread out over individual days. Overall you are looking at maybe 5 to 7 hours worth of work over the course of a year.
 
So completely doable. Very easy to find 2 minutes per day to do a task, even if it is for a ridiculously short amount of time. 


But consider this... the price of seeds vs the price of produce.

$1 of seeds is typically worth about $75 worth of produce.
 
$1 is what you would expect to spend for a small package of carrot seeds.
 
So expect to get about $75 worth of carrots by the end.
 
If you grow 10 different kinds of vegetables, spending $10 on seeds - expect to get roughly $750 worth of produce when it is time to harvest.
 
So approx. 6 hours worth of work spread out over 5 to 7 months, how much is that per hour?
 
$125 per hour.
 
 Hence the saying: Growing your own food is like printing your own money.
 
So two minutes per day and you are effectively getting paid $2.08 per minute, isn't that worth it?

#5. Some Weeds are Edible.

Okay so technically lots of things are edible. If you can fit it in your mouth, it is edible. It is really more of a matter of whether the weeds you are digging out actually taste good.

For example I consider kale to taste disgusting. I am sure there are some weeds that are better tasting.
 
#6. Time Management

Would you rather spend time:
  • Browsing the grocery store. (Plus the time of going back and forth to the grocery store.)
  • Gardening.
Seriously, it is really a matter of choice. (And hopefully having land available to garden on. But hey, that is where community gardens and guerilla gardening is for.)

#7. Foraging for Food.

Seriously. Worth learning more about Foraging.

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